I began using my phone to record community fundraising stories two years ago and, whilst it was fun and got me started on an exciting fundraising journey, they weren’t exactly nice to look at (big shoutout and thank you to Rob at Flotilla Video who taught me swish filming techniques).
Last month I wrote about why fundraisers should be capturing their own content on their mobile phones; this month I’m going to share with you how.
1. buy a mic
Imagine recording a never to be repeated moment in time and finding there’s no sound on the playback? Smartphone mics are unreliable and when they do work, you probably have your finger over it… Smartphone clip on mics can be bought on Amazon for a few quid and the difference is HUGE; clear, crisp sound that picks up the little details.
2. while you’re at it, buy a tripod
If you have an unsteady hand or (like me), get nervous when you’re filming the CEO, buy a smartphone tripod. They’re perfect for recording yourself when you want to shoot a thank you message, and they’re especially awesome for keeping your footage steady when your hands aren’t.
3. download an editing app
You want to be able to record footage freely without worrying about the end result. Download apps like iMovie (free) or LumaFusion (£20) to edit your videos within minutes and cut dud clips, edit pieces together; even adding voice overs and text!
On The Shoot
1. film in landscape
Portrait mode gives you awful black bars when you watch it back on a screen. It doesn’t look great and it makes it harder for people to engage with what they’re watching. Turn your phone around and make it easier for your supporter to become absorbed by the scene.
2. don’t ‘spray & pray’
High impact video will feel like you’re witnessing the event first-hand, and this is the way we should be capturing and sharing our videos to have the biggest impact with supporters. Too often you see one continuous film of numerous scenes as the camera swishes from one view to the next. It gets messy and I feel travel sick.
Film multiple scenes separately and edit together using your app.
3. increase your quality content
Top tip from the storytelling pros; film each of your scenes for 10 seconds and during your editing, take the best 3 seconds of each and edit together. Ta-da! Instant selective storytelling to highlight the best bits.
4. get a good light
You don’t want supporters to think you’re working from a basement; good light lifts your video quality making it look swish, professional and engaging.
If you’re the cameraperson, make sure light is behind you and your subject is illuminated fully from the front. You can do this easily with natural light and keeping the window behind, but if you really want to go pro you can buy a ring light.
5. pre-plan, but be spontaneous!
If you’re heading to a fundraising event and know you’re going to do some filming, think about what and where you’ll use it for after to make sure you capture the footage that you need. Avoid something like this; rope in some video stars in advance and take along your kit to make sure you don’t miss out on the good stuff.
But, it’s also important to keep filming in mind and film as often as possible to make it a habit. Fundraising is so random and fast-paced, things will pop up you hadn’t even dreamed of capturing! If the thought, ‘I’d love our supporters to see this’ crosses your mind, get your camera out. I always carry my mic in my bag to make sure I never miss an opportunity.
6. think ‘supporter first’
Sure this table of merch looks great to you, but are your Twitter followers going to want to see it? Nope. Quality video means ‘content’ so much more than ‘quality’; capture the best bits like stories, reunions, celebration and thank yous so people will not only want to watch, but will keep coming back for more.
These are just a few of the ways I’ve improved my self-shot, smartphone video over the past couple years, and with regular practice you’ll discover more ways to make your own look great. Next time you’re out and about, have your camera charged and keep your eye out for wonderful things to share with your supporters…and hit record.
If you’d like to learn more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psst…I’ll be filming a training session with the legend that is Rob Woods to teach you how to fundraise and engage with self-shot video. Subscribe today so you’ll be amongst the first to see it!
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